Apache HTTP Web Server Turns 15

Darryl K. Taft covers IBM, big data and a number of other topics for TechWeekEurope and eWeek

The Apache HTTP Web Server is celebrating its fifteenth birthday following its launch way back in the 1990s

The Apache Software Foundation has revealed that its most famous creation, the Apache HTTP Web Server, is now 15 years old.

The famed Apache web server was launched on 23 February, 1994, Apache officials said. It was the ASF’s first project and it became the world’s most popular web server software within the first six months of its inception. The Apache HTTP Server today powers nearly 112 million websites world-wide.

Indeed, the Apache HTTP Server reliably delivers petabytes of data across the world’s most demanding uses, including real-time news sources, Fortune 100 enterprise portals, cloud computing clusters, financial services platforms, mission-critical military intelligence applications, aerospace communications networks, and more. The server software can be downloaded, modified and installed by anyone free of charge.

According to an ASF news release announcing the technology’s 15th anniversary, the Apache Server started as a fork of the National Center for Supercomputing httpd, a web server created by Rob McCool at NCSA. Further development to the server ceased after McCool’s departure from NCSA in 1994, so an online community of individuals was formed to support and enhance its software via e-mail collaboration.

The founding members of that community, known as the Apache Group, included Brian Behlendorf, Roy Fielding, Rob Hartill, David Robinson, Cliff Skolnick, Randy Terbush, Robert Thau, and Andrew Wilson.

In March 1999, members of the Apache Group formed The Apache Software Foundation to provide organisational, legal, and financial support for the Apache HTTP Server. An additional goal for the Foundation was to serve as a neutral, trusted platform for the development of community-driven software.

The Apache HTTP Server is available for a variety of operating systems, including Unix, Linux, GNU, FreeBSD, Netware, Solaris, Windows, Mac OS X, OS/2, TPF, and eCS. In addition, the Apache HTTP Server is redistributed through many proprietary software packages such as WebSphere, Oracle RDBMS, Kylix, NetWare, and Delphi, as well as numerous Linux distributions.